The problem facing most business owners and individuals is they confuse good intentions with a unique ability to help customers in ways no one else can.
What is truly different about your business that can’t be replicated? There’s got to be something you do better than the rest, otherwise what’s the point, right? Here are the two rules for creating a value prop the title of this post refers to:
- If someone can replace the name of the person or business at the beginning of the value proposition with the name of another person or business –and the statement is still true– then it’s not one.
- Customers have to agree with the statement, otherwise it’s not a real value proposition.
Chew on that for a minute.
Then start reading some of the statements put out by companies like Zappos.com:
Formed in 1999 to “WOW” consumers with a dazzling variety of shoes and other products sold exclusively online.
If we break down this statement, it’s clear the real value is derived from the “WOW” experience and not selling a variety of product in an online-only store. Amazon does that. So does eBay.
Make no mistake, though, Zappos’ statement cannot be replaced with either of those two other companies. I like Amazon, but I (along with many other customers) LOVE Zappos. The unique combination of convenience features like free shipping on orders and returns, plus a rock solid reviews database, are great — but these aren’t what make the value prop unique.
It all comes down to the people.
People who care about making sure orders are shipped and returned as ordered, and that issues/complaints/confusion are taken seriously by employees who are offered $1,500 to leave the company during training if they decide the job isn’t for them. Seriously, Zappos will pay new hires to walk right back out the door.
People who spend money with Zappos aren’t shopping for the lowest price, and they tend to agree with the statement wholeheartedly. You’re probably thinking about a company that you love in the same way right now.
I’m taking the “Build a Better Value Proposition” seriously, to the point I’ve incorporated it into business projects and workshops in the field. How will you make use of the two rules to craft a better message to prospects, write a more compelling LinkedIn profile, or pitch to investors?